High Chlorine levels ..... need help reducing

Chlorinating, maintaining the right chlorine levels,
chlorine problems. Dichlor, trichlor, cal hypo, bleach,
granules, chlorine pucks and chlorine sticks.
scottc
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High Chlorine levels ..... need help reducing

Postby scottc » Wed 15 Aug, 2007 14:50

Hi all I am new to the pool world, my wife and I just had our first pool installed over the past few weeks. I have been reading and trying understand all I can and have a fairly good grasp on things. However I am having a problem and dont know what to do to resolve it.





My pool is fine, 15,000 gals I am running a chlorinator on it set at 1 and running a del zone ozone system as well. Water looks great and all tests are good. My chlorine might be a little low but I will work it back up to around 1ppm.





However my spa is a differnet story....I am not running an ozone system on it (yet). However my water is totally out of balance and I dont know where to start. I notice something was wrong about 1 week ago when I tested the water with an OTO test kit, the chlorine level would not mix and turned bright red while the PH was really low. I added some fresh water and have been waiting assuming the chlorine level would go down on its own. I just got some aquachek strips and tested today here are my readings.....





Free chlorine 10ppm


PH pail yellow did not even registar on chart lowest number was 6.2 and it is orange color


Alkalinity yellow 0ppm


CYA 0ppm





As you can see my levels are way out of whack can anyone recommend some steps to take. Since it is a spa I am thinking about draining it and starting over. Oh the Chlorinator on the spa is set at .5 on the dial. I am using 3" stabilized tablets and have 2 in it now. Also over the past week the water is still clear but the spa itself is turning a dull yellow.





Sorry for the long message but I am confused where to start. Thanks for your input! I will post some pics when I get the landscaping all buttoned up!





Scott


Backglass
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Postby Backglass » Wed 15 Aug, 2007 19:44

Is this an outdoor spa? If so, with a CYA of zero a bright sunny day will reduce your chlorine to zero quickly. If not, you might have to drain a portion of the water and refill.

The trick to spa's and tiny pools is to move VERY slowly. Because of the small volume of water it is super easy to overdose your chemicals. Whatever you think is about right, add half instead.

Work on your ph first. You need to get it up to at least 7.0 FAST or it will damage your pump & heater.
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Guest

Postby Guest » Thu 16 Aug, 2007 15:27

Thanks for the info, yes it is outdoors. Been kinda overcast the past few days but it does seem like the levels are coming down although they are still real high.

I was told my PH level on the test wont be acturate until the chlorine levels come back down. Should I wait, if not what should I do to raise those levels?

Also any suggestions on the yellow staining and how to remove the metals from this water? Our water is extremely hard in our area.

Thank you
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mr_clean
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Postby mr_clean » Thu 16 Aug, 2007 17:12

it sounds like you have a above ground spa outside?

If you are using a granular chlorine, remember it has acid in it and will bring your ph down. You can add some ph up slowly and it will be fixed.

as for metal in water add some metal be gone it comes in a pint bottle.
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Postby chem geek » Thu 16 Aug, 2007 17:45

mr_clean wrote:If you are using a granular chlorine, remember it has acid in it and will bring your ph down. You can add some ph up slowly and it will be fixed.

Usually when one says "granular chlorine" they mean Cal-Hypo which is not acidic. Dichlor is sometimes called "granular" and other times called "powdered" and it is in fact acidic when accounting for chlorine usage (it's initial addition is only slightly acidic, but when the chlorine gets used up this is more acidic). There is even some Trichlor in granular/powdered form though usually it's in pucks/tabs and its very acidic, both on addition and after chlorine is used up.

So one really needs to look at the ingredients to know what they are getting. Granular or powdered "shock" could be Cal-Hypo or Dichlor and people often confuse the two.
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mr_clean
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Postby mr_clean » Thu 16 Aug, 2007 18:19

Get over yourself geek, these are every day people not Ingredient junkies with giant ego's like yours.

what I said is true and would fix the basic problem do to cyanuric acid over a period of time. He just wanted to fix it.




Sodium Dichlor or "Dichlor" is a member of the "Stabilized" isocyanurate chlorine family. It provides chlorine to disinfect the pool/spa and, at the same time, provide cyanuric acid stabilizer to shield chlorine from decomposition by the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
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Postby Backglass » Thu 16 Aug, 2007 19:27

mr_clean wrote:Get over yourself geek, these are every day people not Ingredient junkies with giant ego's like yours.


WHOAHHHHH....hold on their buddy, you just pissed me off.

Chem Geek is one of the most selfless experts on the pool forums today, assisting people with REAL chemistry knowledge, not BS.

You just showed up today, started posting like mad and with 9 posts under your belt CHEM GEEK has the ego? I think not. :roll:

...and everything he said is correct. The devil is in the details.
===============================

I'm no expert...just a long time pool owner. The real experts are at www . troublefreepool . com



Download Bleachcalc free at troublefreepool . com /files/BleachCalc262.exe and start saving money on chemicals.
scottc
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Postby scottc » Thu 16 Aug, 2007 20:39

actually this is an inground spa about 1000 gallons. I am using 3" tabs of stabilized chlorine in a chlorinator. However my pool guy has been adding chems to get things going and I believe did shock it when he started it up, then after a week or so of running thats when I noticed the high chlorine levels. I just checked tonight, and still off the chart using an OTO test kit.

Thanks for all of your help guys!

I think this weekend I will do a partial drain and refill just to get the levels back down and I will add some of the metal out stuff as well.

scott
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Postby chem geek » Thu 16 Aug, 2007 21:27

It is true that high chlorine levels will bleach out one of the two reagents in the pH test, but that will tend to make the pH look too high, not too low, so I suspect that your pH level is in fact low (in fact, I know it is, see below).

Since you are using stabilized chlorine, specifically Trichlor tabs/pucks, for every 1 ppm Free Chlorine (FC) added it will also add 0.6 ppm to CYA so your CYA will come up very soon. If the spa is exposed to sunlight, then that will be the easiest and fastest way to get the chlorine levels lowered. Otherwise, the partial drain/refill you describe will do it.

I would be most concerned with the pH. For the Total Alkalinity (TA) test to be yellow, that means your pH is below 4.5 (at high chlorine levels the TA test goes from blue to yellow instead of green to red so having it start out at yellow or red means zero TA and a pH below 4.5). So the first thing I would do is add some pH Up which is identical to Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (note: not the detergent) and is Sodium Carbonate (about 25 ounces weight -- around 1-1/2 pounds or about 2.8 cups for your 1000 gallon spa). Or just drain the water and start over, but do something right away as the acidity is probably what is discoloring your spa and probably also destroying your heat exchanger and probably your pump seals and/or pump.

Trichlor pucks/tabs are very acidic so I suspect that is how the chlorine level got so high and the pH so low, though I don't know why you aren't measuring any CYA since Trichlor also adds to CYA. If you had a pool store measure it, they sometimes "invert" (subtract from 100) the number so that 100 is 0 and vice versa (yes, I know that sounds dumb, but several users have reported this happening). I'm guessing that when you initially started with this water that you didn't add any Alkalinity Up / Arm & Hammer Baking Soda / Sodium Bicarbonate to it because if I start with a pH of 7.5 and a TA of 30 with tap water, then add 3 Trichlor pucks/tabs, I get down to a pH of 4.4 and an FC of 165 and a CYA of 100.

If you start over, measure your tap water first to see what its initial TA is (Calcium Hardness, CH, doesn't matter for your spa since I assume it has no plaster/gunite/grout even for tile) since that will determine how much Baking Soda you will need to add. If you want to use Trichlor, you won't need very much since one 3" puck will add 55 ppm FC and 33 ppm CYA and will require about 4.5 ounces weight of pH Up / Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda / Sodium Carbonate to compensate for pH. I'm surprised you have an inline chlorinator with such a small spa since for 1000 gallons you would usually deal with teaspoons and tablespoons in terms of chlorine addition. To add 4 ppm FC you it would take 1 cup of unscented 6% bleach or 0.8 ounces weight of Cal-Hypo or 0.6 ounces weight of Trichlor (one puck is 8 ounces weight) or 1 ounce weight of Dichlor, but these latter add to CYA.

Generally for a spa, you start by using Dichlor for a short while, often one week or two, until the CYA gets to around 20 ppm and then you switch to using unscented bleach (Clorox Regular or off-brand Ultra). Some people use only Dichlor (this is called the Vermont method), but the increasing CYA levels make the chlorine less effective at killing the bacteria that causes hot tub itch which is not easy-to-kill. An FC of 4 ppm with a CYA of 20 ppm should be enough to kill the hot tub itch bacterium (most other bacteria need far less chlorine to kill).

Richard
scottc
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Postby scottc » Fri 17 Aug, 2007 08:36

Chem geek thank you so much for taking the time for that valuable post. I appreciate the information and it sounds like I have a bit of a problem.

I think tonight I will do a partial drain and refill, add some PH up and see what readings I get tomorrow.

I have been testing the water myself, although I did send some to the people who install my pool and hot tub for there thoughts. I am not running the heater right now since I dont have the water right yet, I shut the chlorinator off completely a couple days ago. I have tile on the hot tub but they did not use grout they used a silicone sealant instead to do the grouting. The rest is all fiberglass.

Any suggestions on how to clean the yellow stains off of the fiberglass???

Thank you.

Scott

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